November 11, 2011

This one's 'big'

If there's been one familiar theme emanating from both the Georgia and Auburn camps leading up to Saturday's 115th-meeting between the two long-time rivals, it's that neither team is the same as it was a season ago.

"I don't think so. It's two new teams; I mean we're not the same exact teams we were last year," quarterback Aaron Murray said. "We're just going to go out there and play ball. We're not talking about last year; we're just worried about going out there, making plays and putting points on the board. That's the only thing that matters."

The circumstances have certainly changed.

Last season, it was Auburn trying to protect its undefeated season and keep its national championship hopes alive. Saturday (3:30 p.m., CBS), it's 14th-ranked Georgia (7-2, 5-1) with some hardware on the line.

With a win over the 24th-ranked Tigers (6-3, 4-2) coupled by a victory by Florida over South Carolina, 14th-ranked Bulldogs (7-2, 5-1) would claim the SEC East crown. Otherwise, Georgia will need to beat the Tigers and Kentucky next week to earn the trip to the Georgia Dome.

Georgia comes into play winners of seven straight, tying for the most consecutive victories in the Mark Richt era.

"I think this is a completely different team that we're facing, as opposed to where they were two years ago when we went in there. No. 1, I think the biggest thing, and you can see it when you watch their film, is you have a team that's won that many games in a row, and they are playing with a huge amount of confidence and they're getting better every week," Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. "We have to minimize any of the explosive plays from them offensively. All of those things are going to be a part of the equation for us, along with us trying to possess the football and keep it out of their offense, which is extremely potent. I'm not sure there are any new revelations on how to go in there and win, but we know if we don't do a majority of the things I just mentioned, we'll have no chance."

For Georgia and Richt, the contest is just the latest in a series of steps the Bulldogs will be trying to take after starting the season 0-2.

Looking back, Richt said it's been an interesting climb.

"Basically, you try to build team. You try to build togetherness. You try to build family. You try to build trust. That's how y